New-York Historical Society

Category Archives: Photographs

“Perhaps Rain, Perhaps Not”: Josh Billings Parodies the Almanac

This post was written by cataloger Catherine Falzone. Continuing our series  of highlights from the American Almanac Collection, another almanac of note is the Farmer’s Allminax by Josh Billings. Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818-1885). Shaw was a member of a prominent New England family—his father was a member of Congress, […]

The Drag Queen Stroll: Jeff Cowen and 1980s New York City

This article is written by Joe Festa, Manuscript Reference Librarian. Jeff Cowen, a contemporary art photographer born in New York City, is best known for his portraits and collages, and a painterly approach to his photographic process. Five gelatin silver prints by Cowen are housed within the Photographer File here at New-York Historical Society. Taken […]

A Slice of the 20th Century – The Bernard Gotfryd Photograph Collection

This post was written by Twila Rios, Intern in the department of  Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. It’s tempting sometimes to define history as only items no longer in living memory.  Items over 100 years old usually fit into this definition.  But as an archival student, I’ve often heard the opposite:  “History happens under our […]

The Photography of Claire Yaffa

This post was written by Twila Rios, Summer Intern in the department of  Prints, Photographs and Architectural Collections. The New-York Historical Society has two collections of photographer Claire Yaffa:  the Claire Yaffa Children with AIDS photograph collection  and the Claire Yaffa New York Foundling Hospital photograph collection.  A portion of the Children with Aids photograph […]

Happy 100th Anniversary, Woolworth Building!

Written by Marybeth Kavanagh, Print Room Reference Librarian April 24, 1913, 7:30pm:  President Woodrow Wilson presses a telegraphic button in Washington, DC, illuminating eighty thousand bulbs in the newly constructed Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway in New York City, and ushering in the era of the modern skyscraper. Constructed in neo-Gothic style by architect Cass […]

Beyond “A Photographic Mask”: An Introduction to Arnold Genthe

This post was written by Maureen Maryanski, Reference Librarian for Printed Collections. One of the best known American photographers of the early 20th century, Arnold Genthe (1869-1942) taught himself photography, experimenting with focus, retouching, and color processes along the way. Trained as an academic in his native Germany, it wasn’t until he moved to San […]

The Traveller and the Stone: John Ledyard and the Central Park Obelisk

John Ledyard’s far from a household name in his own country even though he’s arguably the United States’ first explorer, and, had Catherine the Great not abruptly ended his circumnavigation of the globe in 1787-1788, could very well have achieved what Lewis & Clark accomplished fifteen years later. Ledyard also attended Dartmouth, participated in Cook’s Third […]

“Jeff: Davis, aint this a Go?”: Hiram Rhoades Revels takes his seat in the Senate

On February 25, 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a preacher from Mississippi was sworn into the United States Senate. That occasion marked the first time a man of African descent served in either house of congress. While his service is a landmark in American history, Revels would not seek a second term but did go on […]

Snakes in the Mail

Although he lived at the Waldorf-Astoria, died at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital and is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery, George A. Treadwell spent the bulk of his career as a mining engineer out west, much of it in the sweltering Arizona desert. Naturally, his papers document this mining work but they also contain some curious incoming […]

“Freely for games and recreative sports”: New York and the small municipal park

Central and Prospect Park parks dominate New York City park history. While that’s somewhat understandable, it’s time smaller parks got some attention of their own. Despite New York’s long history, small, city-owned public parks didn’t really become a common feature until the waning years of the nineteenth century. It was then that waves of  immigration and […]

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